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The death of David Clapson, three weeks after having his jobseeker’s allowance sanctioned.

What: David Clapson, who had diabetes, dies as a result of an acute lack of insulin, three weeks after having his jobseeker’s allowance sanctioned. Because he had no money, he couldn’t afford to pay for electricity that would have kept the fridge where he kept his insulin working, in the height of summer, and he had also run out of food. But despite the circumstances of his death, and clear links with the sanctions system, no inquest was ever held. An autopsy held after his death found his stomach was empty, there was hardly any food in his flat, and he had just £3.44 in his bank account. In November 2016, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described this and other such cases as “institutionalised barbarity”.

Why significant: One of many deaths of claimants linked to the government’s sanctions regime, it became one of the most high-profile cases because of the campaigning efforts of David’s sister Gill Thompson, and was mentioned several times in parliament.


'Sister hopes campaign for benefit sanction inquest will prevent further deaths', Pring, 2013
'Commons debates: David Clapson'